Local woman going after Topix

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Reporter - Lauren Adams
Photojournalist - Mason Watkins

PADUCAH - With a couple strokes on the keyboard, you can say anything on any subject.  It is called Topix and the online forum is more popular than ever.

"They get braver when they think nobody knows who they are," said Mike Turnbow with the McCracken County Sheriff's Department.

Unfortunately, he said, his department can't do much about it.

"If someone was threatening to burn down a house, that's a threat.  But stating something that is potentially untrue does not rise to the level of a criminal offense."

Criminal or not, for Paducah resident Elizabeth Davis, it got so bad she retained a lawyer.

Davis said Topix users posted several dozen comments attacking her in August.  The three-page complaint filed in McCracken County Circuit Court said those on the site made untrue statements about her "chastity and alleged illegal use of prescription medication."

"Those folks carried away, they're gutless, they're shameless, they're cowards," lawyer Eddie Jones said Friday.

Jones, a partner with Boehl, Stopher, and Graves is representing Davis. He said he has already subpoenaed Topix for IP numbers to track down 'John or Jane Doe.'

"If they have a house or job, bank account, we might end up with part of it," he said of seeking punitive damages.

Just how likely is it Jane or John Doe will be tracked down?

"There's ways. We can find out who it is," Turnbow said.

Jones said Topix has been cooperative thus far and the threads slandering his client have been removed.

No word yet on when this case will go to court.  Jones said it depends on how quickly they identify the defendants.

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